Kedoshim: No Mercy Here

May 10, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Commenting on the Torah's charge "to be holy, since I the Lord your G-d am holy" (Vayikra, 19:2) the Ramban explains that it is not enough to keep the laws of the Torah. One can do so meticulously and still be a "scoundrel with the permission of the Torah". Torah law gives us a framework for life, but one who so desires can technically stay within that framework while nonetheless violating the basic goals of the...
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Acharei-Mot, Kedoshim: Egyptian Business

April 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Why were we taken out of Egypt?  Concepts such as freedom, justice, equality, and the recognition of Divine Providence are the themes of the exodus, ideas that the Jewish people are mandated to live by and demonstrate to the world around us. Parshat Acharei Mot (see Vayikra 18:3) teaches that a sexual ethic based on holiness was one of the ways to differentiate Jewish and Egyptian society. And Rashi identifies the opening call...
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Kedoshim: Holiness and Happiness

May 05, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Knowledge is much more than the accumulation of facts. It is the analysis and application of those facts that is crucial. Underlying factual knowledge is a philosophical outlook on life. Science is not a series of formulas and raw data but a way of looking at the world with each scientific discipline taking a slightly different approach to understanding nature. It is most interesting that until recent times, mathematics and philosophy...
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One is Holy

April 25, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the features of the scientific world is classification of different species into their various groupings and subgroupings. The Torah itself introduces the concept of classification of mitzvoth, identifying the categories of edot, chukim, and mishpatim. It is the question of the classification of these three categories of mitzvoth that our Sages identify as that of the chacham. The ability to classify—and...
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Kedoshim: Hating Your Neighbour

April 19, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most powerful ways to express hatred is to refuse to speak to someone, or to just plain ignore that person. We Jews are very good at this, and it is the reason that we were exiled from the land close to 2,000 years ago. It is well known that our Sages felt that it was sinnat chinam, free hatred[1], which had weakened Jewish society to such an extent that we were easy prey for the Romans. Even when given a chance to save the...
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